Asolo Rep began as a small, popular summer festival, and it has grown into a world-class, nationally recognized theatre presenting a full season of plays and musicals and employing hundreds of people a year. For nearly 60 years, it has been one of Sarasota’s brightest cultural gems, presenting groundbreaking theatre that is created in the community, for the community. In its role as the largest professional not-for-profit theatre in the U.S. south of Atlanta, Asolo Rep serves as a springboard for successful productions to travel to Broadway and other regional theatres throughout the country. At its core, Asolo Rep has always been and will always be a sanctuary for artists from around the world to explore, evolve and create. Whether staging a new work or re-envisioning a classic, Asolo Rep creates theatre that consistently surprises, entertains, challenges and inspires its audiences by inviting them to take part in shared acts of imagination. With its ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education, outreach and audience development programming, Asolo Rep is more vibrant and its work more relevant than ever before.
Asolo Rep is one of the few theatres in the nation to produce in a true rotating repertory model, with up to three world-class productions running in the same space simultaneously. The sets, built by the theatre’s renowned artisans, move on and off the stage seamlessly in a matter of hours, allowing patrons to experience two different productions in a single day.
1960: FSU faculty members start a summer acting company in Sarasota that performs in the original installation of The Ringling ’s Historic Asolo Theater and becomes known as the Asolo Theatre Festival. In 1965 the Asolo Theatre Festival becomes the first State Theatre of Florida.
1976: PBS’ Theatre in America chooses Asolo Theatre Company as one of only eight companies in the U.S. to be featured on its national television series with The Patriots. The Company once again appears on PBS with End of Summer, starring Helen Hayes.
1989: The company outgrows the Historic Asolo Theater and builds a new 500-plus seat theatre, with rehearsal, classroom, shop and office space. The Dunfermline Opera House, purchased from Scotland, is reconstructed inside the new Asolo Center for the Performing Arts.
2006: Michael Donald Edwards begins his tenure as Producing Artistic Director. The following season, A Tale of Two Cities enjoys its world premiere and a sold-out run in the Mertz Theatre and goes on to Broadway.
2017: Asolo Rep launches Staging Our World, with a critically renowned production of Evita. The Staging Our Future 5-year Strategic Plan is adopted, and the new plan includes the acquisition of new property, to accommodate the theatre’s rapid growth and bright future.
5555 N. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34243